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>> but in the end is not giving up. it's about trying and retrying, and trying again. not letting the pain of failure, this book, because i had my fair share of them, not to let them knock you down but to get up and try again. and to understand that even if
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an asteroid that goes by that could be a very happy one. but unless you try, you can't achieve anything. you can't succeed in life without trying. this is a book about trying. sometimes failing, but having arrived at a life, and i in the book with this, a life in which thank you for sharing it with me. [applause] >> hiwell done. nice.
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>> all right, why don't you scan the audience so i can have a drink of water? i don't think the public has to see that. [laughter] thank you. >> well done. >> thank you. >> the title of the book speak why don't you tell the people where the questions came from? >> they came from coming in the, online, e-mail to them. >> so some of these belong to the people in the audience. >> absolutely, thank you. [laughter] you've done me a lot of good today. a great adviser, thank you. and i'm stronger also. the title of your book, "my beloved world" instrument home in your book called to puerto
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rico i return. what were your reflections in choosing that title? >> in the poem there's a line that talks about returning to my beloved world, and my world is not puerto rico alone, but puerto rico is an important sense. and i thought that it was a fitting to call this book "my beloved world" because i'm introducing the world to the things i love, despite descriptions of some very sad things and difficult times and some challenges. the book is about love, a love of life, a lot of people, a lot of experiences that have strengthened me, even in their
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challenge. and so the title just seems right. and, you know something? if you've never visited puerto rico, it's a great place to go visit. [laughter] >> by the way, when september 11 came, all of us, i think not just in new york but the entire world were riveted to the news, and one of the journalist was interviewing a woman from the midwest who said to the reporter, you know, i've been watching the events in new york, and those people are just like us. [laughter] >> i bet some of you have said that about new yorkers. [laughter] >> that moment made me realize many things. one, that all the unhappiness of september 11, september 11,
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there was one sliver of sunshine, and it was in the way that americans came together. and it didn't matter what background we had or where we were from. we stood together as a nation. that was really important lesson, but it also has made me realize when i was writing this book i wanted people to see the slice of my life that was different than theirs. now, i doubt the my experience as a reporter region in new york is identical to the experience of mexicans in texas, or identical to the experience of other immigrant groups in different parts of the united states or the world. but we share so many commonalities. we share so much more than we are different.
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and i thought in describing my world, my beloved world, in the descriptive ways that i try to accomplish, that people would appreciate those commonalities and that they would come away with stealing their own lives, even though the details were different. >> you are famous rephrase that came up in your confirmation hearings. it's in some of your speeches. wise latina woman. now, when i heard that i felt there was more to the story -- [applause] >> i thought there was more behind it. what can you share with us? >> there have been many misunderstandings about that phrase and my use of it in the article i wrote.
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and what people didn't appreciate is where i came from. and where they came from was being a person -- where i came from was being a person who sometimes felt looked down upon by the larger society. people talk about latinos generally in terms of like illegal aliens. i don't use that term. some are undocumented, but illegal alien sounds like we're all drug addicts murderers, yes, it breaks the law to the undocumented, but there are different claims of crimes and summer words than other. white-collar crime is different than the kind of negative images
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that people portray on latinos in the united states. and i have always wanted to convey to latino kids that we should take enormous pride in our culture. that we could be what i am, a very, very proud american, with a latino heart and soul. and i didn't have to apologize to anybody for being that or for anything that my -- [applause] >> it was not when i used the phrase to suggest superiority. it was intended to do something
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completely different, to convey equality. because when you don't feel equal, somebody has to remind you sometime that you are. and so i think it's a phrase that offended some, and i wish i had conveyed that in better terms, and i did, that it chose to do. but its message was born from a sense of pride in knowing that i come from a very rich background, a very rich culture, second to none, not superior to any, but equal. and so that's what i hope will come out of people. [applause] >> that's what i hope will come out of people reading this book. >> moving from the bronx to
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princeton university from one world to another in a series of culture shocks, you described it as becoming a stranger in strange lands, but you discovered ways of adapting to new cultural worlds. what is your advice to others negotiating the same kinds of passages? >> what i had done, and i described in my book, at every juncture of my life, is i have stayed connected to people from the latino community. i have joined latino groups. i have abdicated to some of the needs of latinos, and i've done it because it's given me a sense of comfort and security of my life. we all gravitate to that which we grew up in, because it's the familiar. and the familiar is warming, and security and confidence
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building. but i'm very careful to give a more broader lesson in my book to talk about the need, not to insulate yourself within your community, but simply to use it as a springboard into the larger world. yeah, go back, know your culture, have your friends, feel their warmth. but then go out and explore. that's what they are therefore, to support you if you fall down, to pick you up and push it out again and let you try new things. i talk about building bridges and not building walls in my book. and i talked in those terms because i don't believe in isolation. i believe that every community should try to go out into the world and embrace it all, whether it's going to replace like princeton, which was completely alien to me, to
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making friends who are not latinos. it's too convenient not to reach out and make friends that are different than you, but convenience doesn't help you grow. you have to take the risks of meeting new people to learn new things. and important things. and so taking the time to embrace who you are, but at the same time embrace others is not that easy for a lot of people, but i really wanted that message to come through in the book. >> there was a theme in your book, and i think it started in high school, when you were not sure how to do it and you sought out the smartest kid in class and asked her how to study. and you sought mentors all the way through.
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>> mentors are the most important thing in one's life. the first passage i wrote about him being a role model, it was an introduction to one of the most important mentors in my life, and that was josé, who is a judge, a federal judge of the u.s. just to court by the second circuit in new york. we later became colleagues but josé was the first successful, really successful latino that i have encountered when i was in law school. i was talking about how important he was for me because he was a role model of what i might be able to do and achieve. i think i intuitively understood that story about seeking out a friend was from grammar school. i had a fifth grade teacher and i described this in the book, who gave up gold stars when you
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got good grades, and i want to some gold stars. but i couldn't figure out how to do it, and so i knew there was one girl, and i've been in school with her for four years, and she always got all the gold stars, and i wanted some. so i went to her and i guess it comes how do you study? i learned in writing this book, because i saw her again, and believe it or not i didn't remember that story. she reminded me of that story. [laughter] it was nice to be able to include it in the book, you know, but she explained to me how she studied, how to underline the important facts and what she was reading, have to go back through them the next day so that she began to
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memorize them. and how before each exam should go to the passages again, we looking at those important points. and she said that's how she went about remembering everything she had, remembering answering questions in the quiz. up and the ones i it once and that was it. and she taught me that memorizing things wasn't coming in it, photograph memory, you read and remember. you have to repeat it often and tell it actually sinks in. what a life lesson. i use it to this day. i tell law students, when you have to go into court, stand in front of a mirror and say your opening statement a dozen times. do the same thing with your closing statement. and then pick a friend who is not a lawyer, and practice
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before them so they can tell you what they don't understand. i, nothing i do, do i do without practice. and so it was a lesson from her that really led me to learning how to be a good student. >> the supreme court, it is a mysterious and even secretive world to most of us. how about sharing what your typical day at the court looks like? >> when i say it, most of you won't want the job. [laughter] you know, we spend most of our days reading. we read briefs. we read amicus briefs which are briefs by friends of the court. we read the record that is being created below.
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we read the decisions of courts across the country who have faced the question. we can research, and we right. and we right in the at it. and almost every day we are reading, research and writing and editing. doesn't sound very exciting, does it? then our opinion gets published. and all that thinking gets shown to the world. and it's what people look at, but they don't really realize how much we have to do to get there. and its work to get there, and hard work. and remembering as a judge that every decision you make, there's a winner and there's a loser. people forget about the losers.
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because if they like the decision and they have one, they think we are smart. [laughter] if they don't like what we've done, they don't think we're smart. they think we are lazy. how could they do this wrong? or they think we're doing it based on politics. that somehow we just don't like what they like, we want to do what our way. and it's so far from the truth. judging is a skill, it's a profession. you're trained to look at issues at a legal way, to think about the questions not based on your personal likes or dislikes, but on the tools of interpretation you were taught and have learned to understand. and so the process can seem boring to an outsider.
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to someone who loves law the way i do, it's completely engaging. and the other half of the day, we are interacting with the public. the supreme court gets visitors from around the world. i have met with school children as young as second grade, grammar school, high school, college, professional, not just law schools. i need with students are going to be doctors, with students are going to businessmen. i meet with groups of all kinds that are represented in this society who come to the court and meet with the justices to have conversations about what we do. we get visitors from around the world, judges from around the world. i told you earlier that people around the world read our cases and study our legal system. and they come to our court
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looking to meet with us and to talk to us, each of us to learn from each other. and i travel. i traveled to law school to account the bar association groups. i travel to other kinds of groups as well, because i want to reach out and teach people about the law and about how it makes me so passionate about what i do. if in one meeting with the people i can get them to understand our legal system a little bit better, i hope that they will become better citizens. that they will be more active citizens, and working in the team unity and improving it for everyone. so we're busy on lots of different things, not just him being in the courtroom. that our that lawyers have argued cases before us, it's a microcosm of the work that we put into the case.
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>> the most popular question submitted was how do the justices get along? [laughter] now, i know that relations among you all are deeply collegial, so i'm wondering, what are the conference rituals and the ways you all build relationships? >> it starts with respect. if you come into this process, appreciating that every single justice on the court as a passion and they love for the constitution and our country, that's equal to mine, then you know that if you accept that as an operating truth, which is, you understand that you can
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disagree. you can understand that you can disagree respectfully, and sometimes passionate words, if your reader decisions we are not always so nice to each other. in our decisions. but that's because we really have a commitment to the answer that we think is right. and as you all know from your personal relationships, when people think they are right, they can get really agitated. [laughter] but we do that in writing. and in person, we treat each other with affection and love, because we understand that commitment and we respect it. and so, we, you know, borrowing a hackneyed phrase, and i hope i
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didn't use too many of those in my book but i did some, i think it's unavoidable, we are family. we spend more time with each other than any of us stand with our spouses or friends. because we worked together, every day of the week. we are doing our work on office or elsewhere constantly. so when you spend that much time with each other, you figure out a way of how to love each other and still disagree. it's what family does every single day. try figuring out what movie are going to go to on a friday or sunday. >> i understand in your official conference you all take turns, and you can't speak again until it comes around to you. >> well, it's a way of making sure that nobody ties up all the time. [laughter]
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on wednesdays, we vote on the cases we heard on a monday of a particular week. on friday, we discuss on the cases were heard on tuesday. and if we have a wednesday, a wednesday. so we break it up a little bit because h it can take time sometimes to talk about the case. the chief starts, and he does to a three sentences to remind us all what the case is about, although we all know it. i think it's to ensure that we are all on the same page, but sometimes, not very often, he will say the issue is this in the case, and it will come around to someone else and they will say i disagree with you, i don't think that's the issue. i think should be this. so you've got to start there, okay? so he starts there and then he tells you what his vote is and why. and he would then explain why he didn't think the other side's arguments made sense. the next person to speak is the
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most senior judge after the chief, and senior in years of tenure. in this case it's justice scalia now. he says i either agree with the chief, and if i do, i do on everything except i think we should mention this. i don't think one of those reasons is really a reason. i think that we should answer this argument that way. he expresses what his thinking is and why, what convinced him. and it goes down the line until it reaches the most junior justice who goes last, but somewhere in there someone might say i disagree altogether, and i'm going to dissent. and they explained why they are dissenting. and why the other side is wrong. and if there is someone who joins that the censure, they will do the same as the a careers do. they will come and say yes, but we should say this. no, we shouldn't say that.
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and by the time the conference ends, when the rider of the opinion is ultimately a signed, and that the assignments are by the chief if he is in the majority, if it's not in the majority, the next most senior judge who voted in the majority of signs the opinion. and if it's a dissenting group, the most senior judge in the dissent picks who writes it here but by the time you sit down to write an opinion, you have a very clear outline of what your colleagues are thinking. and it's your job to write an opinion that other people will join. because you need five votes to win. there's a joke among judges, if you're on the trial court, you count as one, me. you make the decision. if you're on an appeals court, there's three judges.
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you know how to count to two. your vote and the other guy that lets you win. and if you on the supreme court in a how to count to five, your vote and for. okay? but you have to write so they will join your opinion. the same with the dissent. you want to write so you get everybody to say you're right about the dissent. and so that's how the process of writing begins. now, clearly after the drafts coming, sometimes people say you really are not thinking the way i am. i have to write differently. and the conclusion might be the same and that's called a conference. and the same happens among dissenters. i'm dissenting but i'll say i'm not dissenting for that reason but i'm dissenting for this reason and so i will write separately. but we try to come together as
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groups as often as we can. >> yesterday's inauguration, and you're great-- [applause] >> the inauguration remind us of the power of the constitution. why does it work? it's remarkable that a guiding document has worked for 223 years in the world's most diverse nation. why do you think it works? >> our forefathers didn't write a document for the times. they wrote a document to last the ages. and the way they did that was to try not to define for their day,
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but to use terms and concepts that each generation could interpret to meet their needs. and so one of the biggest issues that the court is constantly grappling with is, in this age of new technology, what does an unreasonable search and seizure mean? all right, ma so we felt with cases about can the government fly over your home and use technology that takes the air that emanates from your home. we have had questions about wiretaps. we've had questions about gps
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tracking of people in cars. and we will have many more. and for sure the forefathers had no idea that the computer and computer chips would come into existence. even benjamin franklin, i doubt very much -- [laughter] -- tha daddy ever in his wildest fantasy imagined the things we could do today. if they had used terms that were more specific than they did, we wouldn't have been given the opportunity to define it with experience. and so they did a mixture. they did a mixture of some very, very clear things. you can't do this. one thing we forget about today, you can't quarter the militia in
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people's homes, except in times of war. that's pretty specific, all right? but there were many other things that the left generally. and i think that's why the document has lasted. they gave us the concept, and we are guided by the concept, but we're not wedded to a fixed time. >> and what worries you about the constitution? are there any trends, issues you might have your eye on? [laughter] >> i'm a lawyer. many, but i don't think this is the floor to really talk about it. but i will talk about one thing that the reason elections have given me gratification about. our forefathers were citizens --
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citizen statesman. and back then by the way they were all men so that's why i used the word statesmen. they would people who were of the community they were in. they were the elite of that society. they were businessmen, very successful farmers. they were people who had high education, and actually traveled the world and learned from other cultures. the constitution was written by men who have studied the governments through history and of other countries, and they crafted something that was unique for the time by picking and choosing from the various things that they saw worked and discarding the things that they thought didn't work, and coming up with creative solutions for
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the issues that they thought had not been resolved by other systems. so what i am gratified by is that more people are voting now than they had in the past years, because it worries me when citizens forget that it is their obligation not to let the country just happen, but to create the country they want. that's why i tell people when they ask me, how do you feel about immigration law, the immigratiimmigrati on laws, how do you feel about the debate on the second amendment? how do you feel, and i get all these questions, i can't answer them because i generally have cases that i'm still considering and i don't want people to believe that i have made up my
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mind, because i haven't. but if i express an opinion, that's what they will believe. at having said that, what i often say to them is, why are you asking me? why aren't you asking your self? what do you think? and what are you doing about it? if what you think you don't like something? because that's what this country was founded on, on people actually getting up, and starting a war to change a country and creating new and. and so i'm not suggesting armed rebellion. [laughter] far from that, please. but i am encouraging civic responsibility.
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we should all be citizen states people. we should all be out there lobbying for the things that are important to us. we change if you take charge of that change. it's not the court. >> last question. taking you back to your nomination, in the period from your nomination to your swearing-in, to the supreme court, was there a moment that stands out for you that was particularly meaningful? >> think i spoke about earlier. the moment when i realized how extraordinarily special my mother was. you take the people we love often for granted. they are in our life, and we sometimes don't really know how important they are to us. the most special moment of all
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during the nomination process was at a friend broke my rule. i wasn't letting friends show me any of the press about me or the nomination process, but one of my closest friends said you have to watch this. and i watched my brother be interviewed on television, and he was describing me, and he started to cry. and in that moment, like never before, i knew how deeply my brother loved me. most of us don't get a chance to see that or feel it, except in moments of tragedy, illness or death. i got to feel it in a joyful moment. that may have been the greatest gift spent justice sotomayor, thank you for a beautiful
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evening. is a gift from us. thank you so much. [applause] >> the best day to be a planet in america was july 9, 2004, when dick jackson and lawrence frank came out with a book called urban sprawl and public health. and what the book finally did, some technical epidemiological meet on the social logic of those that we've been arguing about and said no uncertain terms, the suburbs are killing us and here's why. and cities can save us and here's why. by far the greatest aspect of the epidemic, i should say of our health challenges in america is the obesity epidemic.
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it's not that obesity itself is a problem but all these illnesses that obesity leads to. principal among them diabetes. diabetes now consumes 2% of our gdp. a child born after 2000 has a one in three chance in america becoming a diabetic. when i look at the first generation of americans who are going to live shorter lives than their parents. is probably not a huge surprise to you. we've all been talking about longtime about the wonders of the american corn syrup diet, and only reason as the argument have the studies been done comparing diet and physical inactivity. one of them is called gluttony versus law for another doctor at the mayo clinic put patients in electronic underwear and measured every motion, set a certain dietetic regime, study their weight, started pumping
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calories in and then some people got fat and other people didn't. and expecting some sort of metabolic factor at work or genetic been a factor at work, they found within to change any people with the metadata activity. then you go a step further and you look at these books like the blue zone, having at the scene that? and where in the world -- you go to where people live the longest, you see they drink red wine and you put in a book and sell millions. the number one rule, move naturally. don't ask people to exercise, they will start to find a way to build normal motion into your everyday life as part of the work routine. who's going to change their work routine from all said they go from being an accountant to being a lumberjack? that's not going to happen. they say, you know, like to work or walk to the store to end the
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one thing the book forgets to mention is in half of america you can't like to work and you certainly can't walk to the store. so it's fundamental about how we build our communities in the long run can put in the short run it's about what you choose to run. that's the choice you make. that's nowhere more obvious than the other big discussion which is car crash their car crashes are funny because on the one hand we naturalized. that's just a part of living that there's one in 200 chance that i will buy in a car crash. in one of three chance of the series injured in a car crash, nothing i can do about it. or we feel like we're in charge of her feet on the road. we are good drivers can weaken good drivers can we can avoid accidents to 85% of people were in the hospital recovering from accidents rated themselves as better than average drivers to all that is going on. the fact is it's not the same all over the world and is not the same all over america. and so we have -- 14th
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americans out of 100 are dying -- 14th americans out of 100,000 are dying every year of a car crash. in england it's five out of 100,000. no one has have to crashes we do but in london it's five out of 100,000 in new york city it is three out of 100,000. new york city has saved more lives in traffic that were lost on september 11. they have -- if the entire country would've shared new chief accident rate we would've saved 24,000 lives a you. is a big difference between urban living and suburban or rural living in terms of that aspect of our lives. and begin the short term, we can build places to be safer but in the short term we can just decide to live and work urban areas to a wonderful study, dick jackson asked the question and what sort of environment them what's what city are you most
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likely to die in a pool of blood? that's how he put it to his audience, and they compared murdered by strangers, crime, to car crashes and added the two together. portland, vancouver and seattle but in all three places 15% safer in the inner city than you were in the wealthy suburbs because of the combination of those two. and then finally, who talks about asthma? 14 americans die every day from as the. that doesn't sound like a huge amount of its three times rate of the '90s. it's entirely due to automotive exhaust. 90%. pollution isn't what it used to be, the sickest place in america are those places which are the most car dependent, and in phoenix you've got four months out of the year that healthy people are not supposed to leave their houses because the amount of driving going on. so again, what's the solution?
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finally the most interesting discussion maybe is the environmental discussion, which has turned 180° in the last 10 years. if you look at, even within the global warming discussion, talk about carbon footprint and the falcon project, red is bad, green is good, you look at the united states and looks like a nightmare, bu click a satellite night sky of the of the united states. hottest around the cities, colin suburbs, who was out in the country. but that measure co2 per square mile. in 2001, scott bernstein in chicago said what happens their mission see a to for my we start measuring co2 per person for our co2 per housel because there's a certain number of us. if you look at say two per household the red and the green just flip. absolutely change places. and by far the healthiest place
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you could is in the city. manhattanites burned a third of the fossil fuels of people in dallas for example. to use a third electricity. why? their heating and cooling their neighbors, their apartments are touching. even more important than that mostly the less driving they are doing. transportation is the greatest smoke contributor to most civilians greenhouse gas. in our daily lives the biggest choice which may, when i build my house in washington, d.c. i make sure i cleaned the shores -- the shelves on the sustainability store. i got the bamboo flooring. i have a wood burning stove that supposedly a log burning in my wood burning stove contributes less co2 to the environment than if it were left to decompose in the forest naturally. but, of course, i have the energy saver like all. the energy saver labels saved as
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much electricity, or i should say states as much carbon in the year as moving to a walkable neighborhood saves in we. so the whole green gadget discussion, what can i buy to make myself more sustainable is the wrong discussion. it should be recommended and how should i live to contribute less to end the answer again is the city. this is fundamentally the opposite of the american ethos, you know, from jefferson on. cities, if we continue to pile up on ourselves as we do in europe, we should take one another as they do there. that was jefferson. it's continuing and continuing and it made sense back in the 1700s when we had the whole country spread out on. that's not the case now. it's a longer discussion. all three of these are longer

Book TV
CSPAN February 10, 2013 6:15am-7:45am EST

Sonia Sotomayer Education. (2013) 'My Beloved World.'

TOPIC FREQUENCY Us 15, America 6, United States 4, New York 3, Jefferson 2, Princeton 2, New York City 2, The City 2, Dick Jackson 2, Bronx 1, Ma 1, Vancouver 1, Benjamin Franklin 1, Lawrence Frank 1, Sotomayor 1, Lumberjack 1, Housel 1, Scott Bernstein 1, Texas 1, Europe 1
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